Multiroom sound setup

It’s not so easy to compile a multiroom sound setup. Let’s go through a few options that are currently available.

Furthermore we will also discuss the use case of moving the setup to an outdoor environment, e. g. for a party.

Multiroom sound setup
Managing the sounds…

Bluetooth connection

If you wanna connect multiple speakers via Bluetooth, you have to be aware that the physical connection works mostly only to a distance of up to 10m.

Second, the devices you wanna control the Bluetooth loudspeakers very often allow only a point to point connection based on Bluetooth.

The Samsung galaxy S8 allows 2 Bluetooth connections at the same time, but this is not a big help for setting up multiple rooms.

WLAN or LAN connection

With WLAN you obviously have also some constraints in the reach, but this can be solved with wlan repeaters.

You can use either directly a (w)lan speaker or you attach a (w)lan to voice conversion device to every speaker.

The following options I have found so far for such a device :

All the solutions are not so cheap.

Software for controlling the multiroom setup

A multiroom sound setup depends first on the hardware. Independant software solutions without requiring specific hardware are not easy to find.

What looks quite promising are two free software solutions:

Speakers

Bluetooth speakers

There are plenty of bluetooth enabled speakers avalailable on the market. It depends more on the other use cases (outdoor, indoor, sound quality, fixed or movable) which speaker is the best solution for you.

WLAN speakers

Also there are plenty of speakers now available with built in WLAN capabilities.

Use cases

Outdoor use case

For going outdoor you should select speakers that can handle water, like e.g. the Sony SRS-XB31.

Also setting up a WLAN including a router and connecting the speakers is not so easy to handle.

In this case it maybe makes more sense to restrict oneself to a bluetooth party chain solution only. This is some offering by Sony.

Upgrading an existing environment

Some people, of course, have an already existing environment and want to upgrade or extend it.

A very good description how this can be done is given by Euronics.

Proprietary solutions

A very good overview for commercial and complete proprietary solutions is given by Conrad.

Currently selected solution

If you are fine with using the Mac or a windows machine as a server, Airfoil is a quite nice solution.
You can stream any application running on your server synchronously to plenty of devices, including multiple bluetooth devices.

I’m going for the max2play solution now.
Yes, it’s more costly as you have to have multiple Raspberry clients running. But you are more flexible as well.
And it makes more fun playing around with the Raspis 😉

Pros:

  • Use of Rpi output or USB soundcard or expensive DAC to connect to the speaker
  • Play different music in different rooms
  • Control it remotely, also via an app like squeezer
  • Don’t need a Windows or Mac as a server

Cons:

  • Cannot connect to multiple bluetooth devices with one RPi

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